Patum de Berga

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UNESCO World Heritage Site
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Patum de Berga

Type Cultural
Reference 00156
UNESCO region Europe and North America
Inscription history
Inscription 2008 (32nd Session)

The Patum de Berga (Catalan pronunciation: [pəˈtum də ˈβɛrɣə]), or simply La Patum, is a popular and traditional festival that is celebrated each year in the Catalan city of Berga during Corpus Christi. It consists of a series of "dances" (balls) by townspeople dressed as mystical and symbolical figures, and accompanied either by the rhythm of a drum—the tabal, whose sound gives the festival its name—or band music. The balls are marked by their solemnity and their ample use of fire and pyrotechnics.

It was declared a Traditional Festival of National Interest by the Generalitat de Catalunya in 1983, and as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2005.


  • Els Turcs i Cavallets (Turks and Little Knights)
  • Les Maces
  • Les Guites (Folkloric "mules")
  • L'Àliga (The Eagle)
  • Els Nans Vells (The Old Dwarfs)
  • Els Gegants (The Giants)
  • Els Nans Nous (The New Dwarfs)
  • Els Plens

Origins and significance[edit]

"La Patum" has its origins in pre-Christian celebrations of the Summer solstice, which were recycled and given new symbolism by the Catholic Church as part of its Corpus celebrations. In Berga, the earliest conserved reference to a Corpus procession is May 20, 1454[1]. The festival evolved and incorporated more elements popular and religious theater in the Middle Ages, leading to a unique combination of giants, devils, angels, moors, and other bizarre-looking characters.

Despite the religious significance of Corpus Christi, and the Patum's descent from "eucharistic performances," in its present form it is rather a show of popular theater. It is unique in Catalonia

Anthropologists and specialists in folklore have been interested in La Patum.

Bruce Springsteen song[edit]

In 2016, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the "old giants" (Gegants vells) and the 125th anniversary of the "new giants" (Gegants nous), the Bruce Springsteen song If I should fall behind, arranged by Sergi Cuenca, was danced by both couples of giants.[1][2]

See also[edit]


  • Noyes, Dorothy (2003). Fire in the plaça : Catalan festival politics after Franco. Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 978-0-8122-1849-7. 


External links[edit]